GANJA/BAKU, Azerbaijan

At least seven civilians have been killed, and 33 injured in an Armenian missile attack on Azerbaijan’s Ganja city, violating a temporary cease-fire on humanitarian grounds, according to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on Sunday.

The ministry said in a Twitter statement that seven people were killed and 33 injured as a result of a missile attack that occurred at approximately 02:00 [local time] on October 11 [2200GMT October 10] in the city of Ganja, which is far off from the conflict zone.

The missiles launched by Armenia hit civilian settlements in Ganja city, according to the statement.

The Armenian attacks continued despite a humanitarian cease-fire agreed for the exchange of prisoners and retrieval of bodies in Nagorno-Karabakh, which came into force at 12 p.m. local time (0800GMT) on Saturday.

The truce came after a trilateral meeting in Moscow on Friday between the foreign ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

Earlier in the day, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said Armenia is “grossly” violating the cease-fire agreement by trying to mount attacks.

The Azerbaijani army suppressed attempted attacks by Armenia throughout the night, said the country’s Defense Ministry in a statement on Sunday.

“The units of the Armenian armed forces, which did not comply with the humanitarian truce, have concentrated their forces and military equipment and again attempted to attack in small groups in the Hadrut and Jabrayil directions in order to regain their lost positions,” it noted.

It said the Azerbaijani military suppressed all enemy attacks by fire.

“A large number of enemy manpower, as well as five T-72 tanks, six D-20 and D-30 howitzers, five trucks with ammunition, eleven vehicles, three MLRS BM-21 ‘Grad’, five self-propelled howitzers 2S1 ‘Gvozdika’, eight air defense systems, and a radar station were destroyed and disabled in various directions of the front,” the statement added.

“The Armenian military command is in psychological stress, and the military personnel is under fear. The confidence of the Armenian soldiers in the commanders has been lost,” the ministry also said.

Fighting began on Sept. 27, when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions in the region, leading to casualties.

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

Some 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory has remained under illegal Armenian occupation for some three decades.

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group — co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US — was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.

Many world powers, including Russia, France and the US, have urged an immediate cease-fire.

* Writing by Burak Dag in Ankara.

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